methods section is used to analyze the relative efficiency of firms among the survey sample.
Efficiency in this context is defined as the measured satisfaction on a five point Likert scale,
ranking e commerce impact from not at all to a great deal and based on the individual set of
IT and e commerce implementations. A high satisfaction rate based on a certain set of IT
infrastructure can therefore be defined as efficient. An aggregated result of the DEA model is
provided in Table 4, where the efficient establishments are categorized by their appropriate
industry and firm size. While one third of all establishments can be regarded as efficient in the
sample, a detailed analysis reveals more SMEs as efficient in the retail/wholesale and
banking/insurance sectors in comparison to large establishments in these sectors. Even more
interesting, the retail sector gains more efficiency from e commerce usage than the
manufacturing or the banking sectors.
TABLE 4 Percentage of Relative Efficient E Commerce Users by Size and Industry
24.2 47.1 31.4 34.3
Large 37.1 40.6 24.2 33.0
30.9 42.4 27.9 33.7
Source:CRITO Global E Commerce Survey, 2002; unweighted sample.
Looking at the differences between efficient and inefficient establishments per sector reveals
that efficient establishments have not only put into operation an equivalent or higher
percentage of easy to implement e commerce solutions such as online advertising or online
sales, but also a significantly higher percentage of more complex solutions such as EDI or
Internet based supply chain management. The data in Table 4 to Table 7 are the detailed results
of the conducted DEA analysis. DEA uses a linear programming approach to differentiate the
efficient from the inefficient establishments which DEA investigated as significant. The
proposition that the degree of complexity increases (see the directionality reflected by the arrows
in the following tables below) is based on the assumption that the complexity of technical
integration together with the necessity of external coordination causes difficulties to increase. On
the other hand, a real application to application integration reduces manual interruptions and
media flow interruptions and increases the benefits by automation. This thesis is also true for
online sales or online procurement. While online sales are, from a technical integration point of
view, not really difficult to establish one only needs to link a firm's internal system with a
web server the online procurement procedure is much more difficult. Online procurement for
large enterprises and for SMEs are based on automatic replenishment systems generating order
messages automatically and submitting these by using EDI over the Internet.
Considering the differences in the usage of e commerce technologies, efficient establishments
often use more complex solutions, as Tables 5 to 7 indicate. The efficient establishments are
marked by the + sign.